Posted by Dora Dye on Mar 06, 2024
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kay Clarke. Kay joined Rotary on July 1, 1987 and was a member of our Club from August 1, 1988 to November 1, 2018. Looking back at history, this means that Kay joined Rotary when women were first allowed.
Kay was very active, highly respected, and a much beloved member. She was the first to receive the prestigious Service Above Self award. See here for more information on Kay Clarke Lechner and her memorial.
Sharing Some Memories of Kay
Here are memories from some of our Club's leaders who had worked with and known Kay:
Kay was one of the first women members of the Rotary Club of San Francisco. She had a passion for international service no doubt due to her proud Italian heritage. Kay served as the Chairperson of the International Service Committee and was active in Touch Romania and Rotaplast. She was a team leader on the first Rotaplast mission to La Serena, Chile joined by multiple members of our Club including Angelo Capozzi, Peter Lagarias (along with Elaine and Kelly), Charlie Massen, Jim Patrick (and Jo Patrick), and Rosey Wong.
~ PDG Peter Lagarias (1992-1993 Club President and 2001-2002 District 5150 Governor)
There are no words to express how much I miss Kay. She came to our Camp Enterprise during its early days and functioned as the nurse with a nurse's cap and white cowboy boots. It was my formal introduction to a fabulous woman. I admired her even more when she gave her talents and enthusiasm to international projects and worked with the City's hospitality committee and connected Rotary. My condolences and appreciation go to Herb Lechner for taking care of this wonderful woman through her long and debilitating illness.
~ Anita Stangl (2006-2007 Club President and 2012-2016 President of the San Francisco Rotary Foundation)
Kay will be missed. When I became President, I asked her to serve on my Board. Kay warned me that she was a feisty and opinionated woman; I found her to be an asset and a good friend. She had a fundraiser auction at her home with many of her own items. I asked if their pool table was available, but her husband nixed that. Rotary has lost a great person. 
~ John Hoch (2007-2008 Club President)
Kay was a unique and wonderful person. I remember her lively demeanor, her enthusiasm, and her generosity. But most of all, I remember the last time that we dined together. Dora and I arranged to have dinner with Kay and her husband Herb at a place near their home. We drove to their house in Atherton and then we all went to a local diner that Kay and Herb loved to frequent. It was a simple place. Herb ordered his favorite dinner – pancakes. We enjoyed the opportunity to join them for food and friendly camaraderie.
~ David Dye (2016-2017 Club President and 2022-2024 Assistant Governor)
I had the honor to meet Kay several times when I joined this Club. She was an inspiration to me as I began my journey as a Rotarian.
~ Dora Dye (Grindings Editor and Executive Secretary)